CHANGE Illinois is a nonpartisan, nonprofit leading systemic government and election reforms. CHANGE (the Coalition for Honest and New Government Ethics) champions ethical and efficient government and democracy and includes a diverse group of civic, philanthropic, business, labor, professional, and nonprofit organizations representing millions of Illinoisans. CHANGE Illinois works in collaboration with like-minded reform organizations, playing a leadership role in convening and facilitating efforts around shared policy agendas. The coalition works to improve challenges that undermine our democracy, including gerrymandering, restricted ballot access, voter suppression, uncompetitive elections, corruption, lack of government transparency and unethical lobbying, all of which have led to disillusionment and a decrease in civic participation.
Organizer: Open Gov Hub
Data is getting bigger: experts say that its rapid expansion will reach 35 trillion gigabytes by 2020. But what does that mean for people in practical terms? The evolution of open data has improved outcomes in the public and private sectors, but it is hard to evaluate its social and political impacts, especially in the developing world. An emerging theory of change, which links the use of open data with greater government accountability and improved service delivery, suggests that citizens' access to information pushes the public sector to get things done right.
This event will commence with a paper presentation titled "From Theory to Practice: Open Government Data, Accountability, and Service Delivery" by Michael Jelenic from the World Bank, analyzing empirical evidence from 25 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. A panel discussion will then explore the findings, followed by an unconference/knowledge cafe breakout session with a happy hour. Join us!
Location: OpenGov Hub, 1110 Vermont Avenue NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC
Tracking the story of American democracy over the past decade has been a very complex undertaking, dominated by dispiriting accelerations of dysfunction but also punctuated by some developments meriting cautious optimism.
The Supreme Court opened the floodgates of money in politics, turned a blind eye to partisan gerrymandering and paved the way for dozens of measures making it harder to vote in places already marred by histories of political discrimination. Capitol Hill became more gridlocked by tribal partisan animus than ever, even when the topic was fixing the very system in which Congress is supposed to play a vibrant central role. And there's Donald Trump, who won the presidency in an election marked by unparalleled foreign interference and then took busting the norms of a democratic civil society to a whole new level.
At the same time, however, the ever more broken state of affairs in Washington was offset by successes in statehouses and city halls — and by the citizens themselves — at making democracy more equitable and productive for more people. Innovations in public financing of campaigns and election methods that reward consensus candidates were on the rise, while voting rights were returned to almost 2 million felons out of prison. Ballot initiatives and state courts moved against partisan power grabs in legislative mapmaking, allowing more people to pick their politicians, not the other way around.
Finally, the democracy reform movement itself built toward a critical mass of organizational muscle and funding strength. It even generated its own dedicated news site!
To get ready for the 2020s, when the debate over how to put the government more overtly back in the hands of the voters will be more urgent than ever, here's The Fulcrum's take on the top 10 stories about democracy's challenges from the decade now ending, in a somewhat rough chronological order.
The survey comes at a critical time for the federal workforce, which is aging rapidly. Federal workers older than 60 outnumber those younger than 30 by nearly two to one, according to the Office of Personnel Management. Job satisfaction and retention are central indicators that the people who actually operate American democracy have some confidence it's functioning as intended.